|Marine||678||178||No||Hureau, J.-C. and T. Monod (eds.), 1979|
|Freshwater||90||24||No||27||Elvira, B., 1995|
|Conservation||Tourism is an important source of Spain’s income, but it is also a source of environmental pollution, especially during the summer months on the Mediterranean coast, where poor sewage- and water-treatment facilities cause serious ecological problems. A state-directed reforestation plan to increase wood production and contain soil erosion is under way, and nearly 8 per cent (1992) of the land has a protected status. Increased applications of nitrogen fertilizers have added to the problem of nitrates in rivers. The following information is to be sought: - Existence of conservation plans; - Current major threats to species; - Future potential threats to species; - Contact(s) for further information.|
|Geography and Climate||
Spain occupies about 85 per cent of the Iberian Peninsula and is bordered by water for about 88 per cent of its periphery. The long, unbroken mountain chain of the Pyrenees, extending about 435 kilometers from the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean Sea, forms the border with France on the north.
The most important topographical feature of Spain is the large, almost treeless central plateau called the Meseta Central; it slopes generally downwards from north to south and from east to west, with an average elevation of about 610 meters above sea level. The tableland is divided into northern and southern sections by irregular mountain ranges, or sierras, of which the most important are the Sierra de Guadarrama, the Sierra de Gredos, and the Montes de Toledo.
Between many of the mountains are narrow valleys drained by rapid rivers. The coastal plain is narrow, rarely as much as 32 kilometers wide and in many areas broken by mountains that descend to the sea to form rocky headlands, particularly along the Mediterranean coast.
The climate of Spain is marked by extremes of temperature, except in the north, and generally insufficient rainfall. The climate is most equable along the coasts of the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic Ocean; here, conditions are generally damp and cool. The central plateau has summers so arid that nearly all the streams dry up, the earth parches, and drought is common. Most of Spain receives less than 610 millimeters of precipitation per year; the northern mountains get considerably more moisture. In Madrid, winter cold is sufficient to freeze surrounding streams, while summer temperatures rise as high as 42°C. In contrast, the southern Mediterranean coast has a subtropical climate. Málaga, in the extreme south, has an average winter temperature of 14°C.
Ref. Microsoft, 1996
The principal rivers of Spain generally flow along deep, rocky courses that they have cut through the mountain valleys west and south to the Atlantic Ocean. The Rivers Douro, Minho, Tagus, and Guadiana rise in Spain and flow through Portugal to the Atlantic. The deepest river in Spain and the only one navigable for any length is the Guadalquivir, which flows through fertile plains in the south. The Río Ebro, in northeast Spain, flows into the Mediterranean Sea; it is navigable by small craft for only part of its course.
Ref. Microsoft, 1996